Algonac to Hold Referendum on Marijuana Establishment Ordinance

December 7th, 2023 Legislation & Policy Updates
Cover Image

Residents of Algonac, Michigan are set to vote in February on a pivotal decision regarding the city's stance on marijuana establishments. In a recent city council meeting, Mayor Rocky Gillis announced that a petition with 353 valid signatures had been submitted. This petition proposes the repeal of Algonac's existing ordinance, which prohibits marijuana establishments, in favor of adopting a new ordinance to permit a single marijuana dispensary within the city.

This dispensary, to be licensed by the state of Michigan, would cater to both medical and recreational marijuana users. The proposed location for the dispensary is within a commercially zoned district in Algonac. The city's charter mandates that such petitions be presented to the city council, which then has 30 days to either adopt the proposed ordinance, repeal the existing one, or put the matter to a public vote.

Mayor Gillis outlined the procedural steps following each option. If the council opts to adopt or repeal the ordinance, the city attorney would draft a new zoning ordinance, reviewed by the planning commission without a public hearing. The recommendation from the commission would then be introduced and potentially adopted in subsequent city council meetings.

Alternatively, should the council decide to put the proposal to a public vote, the matter would be decided in the next scheduled election on February 27th, 2024. Council member Dawn Davey motioned for this third option, favoring a democratic decision by the city's electorate.

During the meeting, City Attorney Jim Downey clarified the distinctions between the first two options. Both would involve the planning commission due to the need for zoning accommodation for the proposed dispensary, a consideration not previously required under the existing prohibition ordinance.

Council member Michael Bembas suggested that since the referendum is likely to pass, the council could bypass the ballot and proceed directly with planning. However, Mayor Pro Tem Raymond Martin and Council member Cathy Harris voiced support for a public vote, emphasizing the importance of community input on this citywide issue.

Downey indicated that even if the issue goes to voters, the city could still draft an ordinance in the interim, allowing time to study similar ordinances in other communities and address zoning issues.

Council member Davey noted that if the referendum passes, Algonac would become the second city in the county to allow dispensaries, following Port Huron. She expressed concerns about potential litigation arising from granting a single dispensary license. Downey acknowledged these concerns, suggesting that additional time could help address potential legal issues.

Ultimately, the council unanimously agreed to submit the proposal to the electorate, with Council member Corey Blair absent from the meeting.

Share this article:

Spotted a typo, grammatical error, or a factual inaccuracy? Let us know - we're committed to correcting errors swiftly and accurately!

Missed an issue? Browse our newsletter archive to stay updated on past news!

Other Recent News

Michigan Marijuana News thrives thanks to the dedication and support of its readership. If you depend on our comprehensive cannabis coverage to keep you updated and enlightened, we kindly ask you to think about making a monthly commitment through Patreon. Every pledge fuels our mission and ensures the continuity of quality cannabis journalism in Michigan.
Become a Patron!

Upcoming Cannabis Events